A group of my friends and I play Geeks Who Drink pub trivia every single week, a standing Wednesday night out that none of us would miss unless we were having inpatient surgery or had been kidnapped by alien beings — and even then we'd probably ask our alien captors for, like, one teleportation session before they break out the assorted probes.
We're pretty good, though, and after winning a dozen times this year we've racked up several-hundred bucks in gift certificates for the restaurant and bar that hosts us. It serves great burgers, but the best thing on the menu is, hands-down, the tater tots. Or it least it was the tater tots, until the OG tots were replaced with sweet potato versions that are drowning in goat cheese and something called "marshmallow drizzle."
I'm not down for that, so I've started pregaming with my own tots at home. Because I'm someone who eats like I was raised on the grounds of a State Fair, I'm more than familiar with the major frozen varieties. My go-to is always Alexia, even though I refuse to call them Potato Puffs. (That's like when Mikey next door grows up, gets a job at Barclays, and starts going by Michael. No, you're Mikey, the 3rd grader whose mom had to be called because he wouldn't stop putting Skittles up his nose.)
Regardless of what you call them, it's impossible to beat Alexia's tots, which somehow come out of the oven with a perfect golden crispiness, whether you're baking them in your parents' recently upgraded kitchen or in the ancient oven in a beach rental. My fave, the Crispy Seasoned version, has enough flavor to stand alone without any kind of dipping sauce, but it's not so pronounced that it overwhelms a breakfast casserole or dip. (The Sweet Potato Puffs are good too, as long as you don't cover them with marshmallow drizzle, which is a reflection of the drizzle and not the puffs!)
In addition to the flavor and the oh-so-perfect texture, Alexia's tots (or puffs, or whatever) have zero trans-fats and no GMOs. (Its Yukon Select Puffs are also certified organic). Not all of Alexia's products are gluten-free, though — the company's FAQ page explains that if one of their products contain gluten "it will be called out on the packaging after the ingredient list." The only potential allergen listed on the Potato Puffs is dairy, but a company spokesperson recently said that Alexia products are produced in a "shared facility," so it has removed the words "gluten-free" from its packaging.
I'm not gonna say that my pre-trivia tots are the reason we keep winning, but I'm not gonna say they're not either.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite brand of tater tots?